Wednesday 20 May 2015

Carry on Council - Updated

Source; Carmarthen Journal
(Update below)

Rumours are now circulating that there could be yet another challenge to the Labour group leadership on the council. Kevin Madge was ousted last week by Jeff Edmunds - a choice so unpalatable to Meryl she ditched the Labour Group and formed a new administration with Plaid Cymru and Plaid leader Cllr Emlyn Dole was proclaimed as leader of the council (subject to today's AGM). Please see last week's posts.

Quite who is challenging Jeff Edmunds isn't known - possible contenders could be Anthony Jones or Calum Higgins. 
Maybe it's a last ditch attempt by Labour to woo Meryl?

Today's (Wednesday) AGM features the Chains of Office swapping ritual starting at 11am. The meeting will then be adjourned until 2pm when the nitty gritty of electing the leader of council, the allocation of seats on the Executive Board (50/50 split between Plaid and the Independents - subject to any last minute changes) and the allocation of Chairs and associated Special Responsibility Allowances...

Update 21st May

I'll not go into details as yesterday's AGM is now available to watch on archive with the afternoon session starting around 1 hour 10 minutes in. 
Just a few observations.

Plaid's Peter Hughes Griffiths is now the Chair of the Council and veteran Labour Cllr Eryl Morgan is Vice Chair.

The 'votes' for these positions were not unanimous as Cllr Caiach abstained on both. This was nothing personal but a protest over the way these positions are granted every year including the time honoured tradition of each main group taking it in turns. The use of the word 'election' is a misnomer and the system remains deeply undemocratic.

The Plaid/Independent coalition is now official, until the next local elections in 2017, and Plaid's Emlyn Dole is the Leader of the council.

The Executive Board now includes Plaid members; Cllr Emlyn Dole, Leader; Cllr Dai Jenkins, Deputy Leader and resources; Cllr Gareth Jones, Education; Cllr Hazel Evans, Environment and the member for Housing has yet to be confirmed.

(Update 23rd May - The reason that the Exec Board member for Housing has yet to be appointed is that Cllr Dole wishes to appoint Cllr Linda Evans to the post. Although she has been the shadow member for Housing, Cllr Dole must obtain dispensation from the Standards Committee to appoint her to the Exec Board as she is his sister-in-law)

The Independent Exec Board Members remain the same.
The Chair of the Planning Committee, Labour Councillor Anthony Jones has been replaced by Plaid's Alun Lenny.

The aim of afternoon session was, after all the squabbling, to try and show a united front rather than stabbing each other in the back and (with apologies for my cynicism) mourning the loss of Special Responsibility Allowances. However the ill-feeling did become quite apparent. 

Kevin Madge remarked that the lengthy Labour/Independent alliance started with a kiss with Meryl back in 2004. Jeff Edmunds commented that his own failure to kiss Meryl could perhaps explain his current situation and indeed the situation the Labour group now found itself in, he also gave something of a sermon on morality. 

This didn't go down terrible well and Independent Cllr Giles Morgan informed Cllr Edmunds that no one would be queuing up to kiss him (Cllr Edmunds), he wouldn't be listening to his sermons and he thought his, and others, treatment of Kevin Madge had been shabby.

Emlyn Dole promised to bring further openness and transparency to the council. In my opinion he and his group need to do more than take things forward; there are many people who now believe that with Plaid in charge, they will act as a new broom and deal with long standing issues, for so long swept under the carpet.

Whether they will or not remains to be seen, and many of us will have high expectations for the Extraordinary meeting on the 17th June. (My post, 'The Governance Review - part 94' from 2nd May)

The Wales Audit Office will be carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the council's progress in matters of governance later this year.

I gave my opinion last week, and it will be interesting to see whether Plaid can turn things around from an officer-led council or not; the Labour group are obviously bitter and divided; I wouldn't trust Meryl and Pam, their coalition partners, as far as I could throw them, and the biggest problem, the chief executive, is still there for the foreseeable future.

We'll see what happens.


Anonymous said...

Interesting isn't it that the Carmarthen Journal seems to have grown a pair and seems willing to criticise CCC.
Nothing to do with competition from The Herald I don't suppose.

Anonymous said...

Is the writing on the wall for Mark James and co?

caebrwyn said...

Anon 15:53

I wish it was.

Anonymous said...

Naturally, mark james will be on the dole now. Though sadly, not the type we all want to see him on.

At least it seems things are changing for the better, however, only time will tell.

You can guarantee james reads this board. He contributed once and despite the questionable outcome his ego is too big to allow him not to check in on a regular basis.

How does it feel, mark, to be so despised?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

We will be keeping a close watch on Cardiff bay as well.Councillors must now look at what has happened while Mark James has had complete control over all democratic processes in council business.This is all very well but it is the councillors of the previous administration who are responsible for allowing him the power he has used throughout his time in CCC.

caebrwyn said...

@Anon 15:41
Absolutely. They now need to look back as well as forward.
To give one example, I do not believe the chief executive nor the councillors involved in the pension and libel indemnity scandals have ever been properly held to account.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right Caebrwyn. So that the promised transparency can kick in there must be an acknowledgement of past issues which have given rise to so much discontent. Once they have been addressed and measures taken then democracy will have been returned to CCC and the people of Carmarthenshire.

Anonymous said...

Re. The Carmarthen Journal maybe growing a pair.
Bit too late to jump up on the band wagon because the popularity of a stronger newspaper is showing them up.
I am sincerely hoping their new found backbone could be from a more palatable reason of believing they are out of danger now.
Hopefully, they smell blood and believe the stronghold is losing it's grip.

Anonymous said...

Its up to Plaid now ,build more houses for young people and the homeless, its your turn now to step up to the mark as our record in housing is very bad and it makes jobs and money to keep the shops going etc , we are all watching now , hope you will step up to the mark

Anonymous said...

It is so important to keep up the momentum of restoring democracy to a council where for a very long time it has been sadly lacking-dare I say non existent.I wonder who has been responsible for that then!!!!